A new bird in a family known as the “tapaculos” has been discovered in Colombia and described as “Scytalopus rodriguezi yariguiorum”. It was originally discovered in montane forest which now forms part of Fundacion ProAves’ Cerulean Warbler reserve.
This finding was made during a ProAves-supported expedition in 2003 whose results also led to the protection of these forests. Details of the discovery were only published in full this year, following completion and publication of a scientific paper describing the subspecies and including information about the new tapaculo’s morphology and vocalisations. It occurs c.580 km distant from its closest relative, the Upper Magdalena Tapaculo of Huila, in its darker dorsal coloration, shorter tail, smaller body, lower mass and lower pitched song.
The new tapaculo is borderline as to its treatment as a species in its own right or as a subspecies of Upper Magdalena Tapaculo S. rodriguezi. The nominate Upper Magdalena Tapaculo is restricted to mountains of Huila department. The latter species was also discovered in 2003, but details of the finding were published much earlier, in 2005. Both populations have tiny distributions and are considered threatened with extinction. ProAves’ Cerulean Warbler reserve is of great importance for the protection of this new population and other bird species.
The description was published by ProAves consejo member Thomas Donegan, together with ornithologists Jorge Avendaño and Frank Lambert in Bulletin of the British Ornithologists’ Club, a leading international journal on avian taxonomy and distribution.
Video of Scytalopus rodriguezi in ibc.lynxeds.com recorded by Professor Cedric Prys-Roberts at the Cerulea Warbler Bird Reserve. The bird was seen in the forest on the side of the Camino Lengerke, in the Serrania de los Yariguies on February 22, 2012.